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Category: Annie Awards

'Up' takes top Annie Awards on road to Oscars

February 7, 2010 |  9:13 am

Up Oscars Annie Awards "Up" won both best picture and director at the 37th annual Annie Awards on Saturday night. The nine-time nominee beat out all four of its competitors for best animated feature at the Oscars -- "Coraline," "Fantastic Mr. Fox," "The Princess and the Frog" and "The Secret of Kells" -- as well as "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs."

"Coraline" -- which topped the list with 10 nominations -- won three Annie Awards: character design, music and production design. "Princess" took three of its eight races at the Annie Awards: animated effects, character animation and voice acting. Critics' choice "Fantastic Mr. Fox" won just one of its three nods, for the script by director Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach.

"Beauty and the Beast" -- which, like "Up," was a best picture nominee at the Oscars -- won the first Annie Award for animated feature back in 1991. Since the Academy Awards introduced a separate award for best animated feature in 2001, the winners of the two prizes have matched up six times. The exceptions: in 2006 when "Cars" won the Annie but "Happy Feet" danced off with the Oscar and last year when "Kung Fu Panda" swept the Annie Awards but "Wall-E" waltzed off with the Academy Award.

Although film critics ranked "Wall-E" as one of the top-rated movies of last year, those truly in the know about the art of animation -- members of the International Animated Film Society, who bestow the Annie Awards -- were far less impressed. Of last year's three Oscar contenders, "Kung Fu Panda" led going into the Annie Awards with 16 nominations to eight for "Wall-E" and five for "Bolt." Numbering triple noms in both character animation and voice acting and double noms in storyboarding and production design among its record-tying tally, "Kung Fu Panda" won all 10 categories in which it was competing while "Wall-E" was shut out. And offshoots of "Kung Fu Panda" were also winners at the Annie Awards. The video game claimed an award and TV spinoff "The Secrets of the Furious Five" took four more.

Two years ago, eventual Oscar champ "Ratatouille" was also the clear leader at the Annies, winning nine of its 14 nominations and far outpacing the other two Oscar nominees, "Surf's Up," which won two of 10 nods, and "Persepolis," which went zero for four.

The Annie Awards were announced at a kudofest at UCLA's Royce Hall. The Annie Awards website has a complete list of winners and nominees.

Photo: "Up" DVD cover. Credit: Pixar / Disney

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'Monsters vs. Aliens' knocked out by critics

March 27, 2009 | 11:09 am

"Monsters vs. Aliens" may win the box office this weekend, but this new 3-D animated feature is unlikely to be contending for any major awards. Based on overall mixed reviews, "Monsters vs. Aliens" scored a mere 55 at Meta Critic and a barely better 59 with the top critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

Monsters_vs_aliens_reese_witherspoo

By way of comparison, Oscar champ "Wall-E" came in at 93 on Meta Critic and a jaw-dropping 97 with Rotten Tomatoes. Oscar also-ran "Kung Fu Panda" — which swept the Annie Awards — managed 73 at Meta Critic and 74 at Rotten Tomatoes.

Of the top critics, only Claudia Puig of USA Today was enthusiastic about "Monsters vs. Aliens," noting, "Dazzling colors, winning characters and energetic visual effects all work in concert, with the 3-D animation serving to intensify the experience." However, most reviewers agreed with the sentiments of Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, who says, "I didn't find the movie rich with humor, unless frenetic action is funny. Maybe kids have learned to think so. Too bad for them. Think of the depth of 'Pinocchio.' Kids in those days were treated with respect for their intelligence. 'Monsters vs. Aliens' is also lacking in wit."

"Monsters vs. Aliens" is written and directed by Rob Letterman, who helmed the 2004 Oscar-nominated "Shark Tale," and co-directed by Conrad Vernon, who was part of the team behind "Shrek 2," another 2004 Oscar nominee. Both those pictures lost the animated feature race to "The Incredibles."

This new movie about supersize heroes is unlikely to be another contender for DreamWorks, which has a honored history with the Oscars. The studio won the first animated feature Oscar with "Shrek," in 2001 and was nominated four more times on its own — "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" (2002); both "Shark Tale" and "Shrek 2" (2004); and "Kung Fu Panda" (2008). In addition, it co-produced 2005 champ "Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit."

Last month's animated 3-D release — "Coraline" — did far better with the critics, earning a solid 80 at Meta Critic and 79 with the top reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes. That film, based on the acclaimed book by Neil Gaiman, was directed by Henry Selick, who helmed two highly acclaimed stop-motion films — "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993) and "James and the Giant Peach" (1996) — that predated the introduction of the animated feature category at the Oscars.

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Photo: DreamWorks

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Photo:DreamWorks

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'Kung Fu Panda' dropkicks 'Wall-E' at Annie Awards

January 31, 2009 |  6:05 am

"Kung Fu Panda" shut out all competition, including critical darling "Wall-E," at Friday's Annie Awards, winning 10 categories, including best animated feature. Does this sweep signal trouble for "Wall-E" at the upcoming Oscars?

Annie_awards_kung_fu_panda_walle

Since the Academy Awards introduced a separate award for best animated feature in 2001, the winners of the two prizes have matched up every year except 2006, when "Cars" won the Annie, but "Happy Feet" danced off with the Oscar. And last year's double winner "Ratatouille" was also the clear leader at the Annies, winning nine of its 14 nominations and far outpacing the other two eventual Oscar nominees — "Surf's Up," which won two of 10 nods, and "Persepolis," which went zero for four.

Although film critics ranked "Wall-E" as one of the top-rated movies of the year, those truly in the know about the art of making animation — members of the International Animated Film Society, who bestow the Annie Awards — were far less impressed. Of this year's three Oscar contenders, "Kung Fu Panda" led going into the Annie Awards with 16 nominations to eight for "Wall-E" and five for "Bolt." Numbering triple nods in both character animation and voice acting and double noms in storyboarding and production design among its record tying tally, "Kung Fu Panda" won all 10 categories in which it was competing. And offshoots of "Kung Fu Panda" were also winners at the Annie Awards. The video game claimed an award and TV spinoff "The Secrets of the Furious Five" took four more.

Winners of the Annie Awards were announced at a kudofest at UCLA's Royce Hall. The Annie Awards website has a complete list of winners and nominees.

RELATED POSTS

'Kung Fu Panda' Wins Big at Annie Awards

Will 'Kung Fu Panda' dropkick 'Wall-E' at the Annie Awards?

Photos: DreamWorks, Disney

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